Under Fire thesis paper

Assignment:  Choose one novel we have read so far:  Henri Barbusse’s Under Fire or Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front.  Then, interpret a pattern of doubling with a difference or mimetic rivalry (as we defined those terms in class) that occurs within the text you choose.  Use evidence from the text to support an argument organized by a thesis.  Do not rely upon readings offered in lecture or in class discussion.  Your argument should be original in focus and supported with details, examples, and explanations derived from your own active, interpretive reading of the text.


Remember, it is not enough for your thesis simply to identify the doubles in a text; a major goal for you in this assignment is to demonstrate your ability to identify very specifically a) the groups/ideas in conflict in the text, b) the specific idea over which they conflict, and c) how/why the text suggests that one group/idea is (or should be) superior to another (its double/rival).  Actively reading “doubles with a difference” is key to reading cultural, political, philosophical conflicts during the Great War.



Organization of Essay:  The first two or three sentences of your introduction (the orientation) should orient your reader to the issue (very specifically defined) addressed by your reading of the text.  That is, does your paper address a specific conflict/issue concerning the more general category of race, economic class, gender, desire/sexual orientation, theology, philosophy, political order/belief, or some other issue of contention that can be traced to the doubles in the text and, ultimately, to groups in conflict in the real world.  The next few sentences should explain, briefly, how you see this conflict appear in the text.  The last sentence of your introductory paragraph should be your thesis.  Each body paragraph should have a clear main point, usually expressed in a topic sentence at the beginning of the paragraph that supports your thesis.  Your concluding paragraph should answer the questions, “So what?  Why should the reader care about the interpretation you have argued?”  Give your paper an interesting/original title (related specifically to your thesis).



Things to Avoid:  DO NOT CONSULT OUTSIDE SOURCES.  Stay away from obvious or factual or obvious assertions, since they cannot or need not be argued (because facts are facts and the obvious is already known).  Avoid summary; use quotation, paraphrase, or description of the plot/action sparingly (only to support your own ideas/arguments).  Literary terms (doubles, plot, character, setting, symbolism, conflict, tone, etc.) represent categories through which you examine doubles with a difference — they are not the end or goal of a critical analysis of literature.  Inadequate claims would be:  “Barbusse uses symbolism. . .” or “Remarque creates doubles …”



Length/Format:  4 pages (plus a Works Cited page) and MLA style (double-spaced, 12 pt. Times New Roman font (no exceptions), 1-inch margins, original/interesting title, in-text citations, page numbered, stapled, and with none of the following:  extra line spacing, needless underlining/bolding).